I write romantic mystery. Some call it “mysterious romance”. It all depends on what grabs you as a reader. Because it is considered somewhat “cross-genre”, I have trouble deciding how to label it when I enter contests or categorize my work on marketing platforms. People ask, “is it more mystery, or more romance?” Darned if I know! Yet this can and will be an issue with some novels. Is it romantic enough to be called a romance? Or, is the mystery strong enough to appeal to mystery lovers?
Worse, my latest release has no body. No overt murder. No amateur sleuth or hard-boiled flatfoot. As a member of Sisters in Crime, I sometimes feel a bit fraudulent. But there is death, I insist, and yes, there is a crime and a mystery to be solved. There is a heroine who needs to know, a hero who knows too much, and a friendly, if restless, spirit subtly helping them to find answers.
Whoops! A spirit, too? Well now, what we might have here is a paranormal romantic mystery. Cross-genre just took on a whole new meaning. Now that I am mixing three genres, does my marketing appeal narrow, or am I winding my way into a new niche? I prefer to think the latter, and hope that my books are helping to create a new stratum of mystery fans.
Oh, did I mention my stories take place inside of lighthouses? Does that make them paranormal, romantic, lighthouse mysteries?